Updates: “Not a Secret” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Not a Secret” whose letter was included in a recent shortcuts column. She was recently engaged and feeling anxious about the relationship between her fiancé and his ex-girlfriend. Specifically, she didn’t understand why he wouldn’t tell the ex that he had gotten engaged. Keep reading to see if the LW is still a secret.

Well, we have resolved the secrecy issue with the female “friend.” Last Thursday it finally came to a head and I put my foot down that, if he didn’t do something about the situation, then I would. That same evening after speaking with his brother he finally understood how he was hurting me and he would via text inform her that he was engaged. He did apologize for hurting me. I also learned that evening that they were “friends with benefits” four years ago which made sense as to why she wouldn’t let go and kept contacting him and hoped his feelings would change even though he kept telling her he did not feel that way and looked at her as a friend only.

I did not have to prompt him to contact the individual as we were having a relaxing Friday evening and she texted him yet again. She sent a picture of his Match.com profile from 4 1/2 yrs ago which he shared with me. (Holding onto something like that for 4 1/2 years seems a bit obsessive and stalkerish but not my issue, thank goodness). I said it was a good segue to tell her about me and that he was engaged. He did so and she was, of course, surprised yet congratulated both of us and wished us well and said that she finally got her closure and said her goodbye to my fiancé. He said that he has heard this for the last four years and she will probably contact him again in the future. But I can only control what I do and not what others do.

All along I said he was disrespecting me and our relationship yet his opinion is that I do not trust him. I have tried to explain that is not the case. On a more positive note, we are going to seek couples counseling as we have gotten off track from where we were before all this drama started. There has been some damage but I do love my fiancé with all my heart and want to work this out.

I appreciate all the responses as it did solidify what I thought was correct.

Thanks for the update, and best of luck to your both!


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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  1. bostonpupgal says:

    I’m still seeing some serious red flags in this letter. Keeping it from you that this “friend” was also his sexual partner, keeping in regular contact with her and refusing to tell her about your engagement, then saying it’s your issue because you don’t trust him? Also the whole “I’ve heard this before” thing when she says goodbye. I think there are some serious issues with this guy, and they aren’t going to go away. Being shady, lying, and keeping this woman around (who obviously still has feelings for him and he knows it) are all very bad signs. I would say MOA

  2. artsygirl says:

    Anyone else confused by the Match.com thing?

    1. llclarityll says:

      Yup. How does the fiance know it was from 4.5 years ago? My gut reaction is that the profile while was still up.

      1. llclarityll says:


  3. This guy seems awfully sketchy. So, this female friend wanted to date him, but he never wanted to date her, he just wanted to have sex with her. I understand why he chose to keep that secret, if he is planning on a sketchy future of cheating on this LW. LW repeatedly tells him that keeping her a secret is hurting her, but he doesn’t believe it until his brother tells him it’s true. Doesn’t sound like he values LW’s opinion or feelings at all. She is just being overly possessive to keep him from his friend with bennies. With the very belated admission of fwb status of the other woman, I’d cut my losses and MOA.

    1. I agree with this. It seems a normal person, if hounded this much by someone they had already set clear boundaries with (something this fiance never seemed to do), they would change their phone number, block them on social media, etc., and move on with life. He is keeping her close for a reason; it just seems really shady.

  4. Just be careful, and I’m glad you are going to couples counseling, because even though she kept contacting him, he kept texting her back, so he was clearly keeping her around for a reason. Too many lies to start a marriage with. If you are going to be worrying about this girl your whole life it might not be worth the aggravation it is going to cause. I do hope things workout for you, because you seem really nice, he just doesn’t seem that nice… maybe marry his brother insteas since he could see how much of an idiot he was being too.

    1. Also how did this girl not know he was engaged or even had a girlfriend? I mean really? She is supposedly this guys friend, but does not hangout with, or talk to anyone else he knows? He was lying about that too, that really isn’t a friend that is fuck buddy only, and that is the only reason they had to talk to each other!

      Sorry I was on vacation for the 1st letter so I didn’t get to comment on it!

  5. kerrycontrary says:

    I just think if the BF didn’t want to hear from this girl who is “obsessed” over him, then he would call the phone company and block her number. Or change his number. I’ve never heard of someone obsessing over someone who doesn’t return their affections for 4 years.

  6. Your fiance WANTS this woman to keep contacting him. He’s getting something out of it. If he didn’t want her to contact him, he would say “Please do not contact me again”, and if she kept doing it he would NEVER respond to her, or just change his phone number. He kept her on a string for years so he’d have an easy lay if your relationship went south (or just an easy lay if you were out of town or something). How much does anyone really worry about “hurting feelings” of someone they had a fling with years ago, who keeps pestering them? That’s a BS excuse. Yeah, and his “you just don’t trust me” is BS too. I sure as shit would not trust someone who kept a text/possible f*ck-buddy on the side, by letting the text-buddy think he’s still available. You shouldn’t either. Good for you for doing pre-marital counseling. Think long and hard about marrying this guy if he continues to insist that his shadiness should not be a problem for you.

  7. Sorry, this guy still sounds sketchy as hell. Of course he’s making himself sound like some stud who’s just impossible to get over, even 4 & 1/2 years later. Of couuurse this woman is just some psychopath, right? LW, like everyone else said, please pay attention to these red flags. See how things aren’t matching up– if he firmly told this “long-ago” (yeah, right) FWB that he didn’t have feelings for her, why did he also choose NOT to tell her he was engaged? And if she was the clinger he describes her to be, then why would she just be like “Cool, congrats” upon finding out that your fiance is with you? The details do not add up.

    I also think he’s cleverly setting you up for the next time something shady happens. He’s making it seem like YOU have issues, YOU don’t trust him. And the “she says this now, but I’m sure she’ll come a’knocking again soon!” Yeah, that’s because he is reciprocating…in some way.

    Sorry to be harsh, but the first letter left me in a bad mood & this update just feels very “Thanks guys, but I love having this wool over my eyes.”

    1. “this update just feels very “Thanks guys, but I love having this wool over my eyes.””

      LOL, this is a great image.

  8. I would just like to echo everyone else and say the reality of the situation doesn’t sound as hopeful as you wrote in your letter. The part that sticks out to me was when he told her you were engaged, she said “she *finally* got her closure”. So, even though they were communicating all this time, she hadn’t received closure for some reason? Was that because he was egging her attention on and letting her think she had a chance? Or did he take it a step further? Either way, it sounds like your fiance enjoyed and probably encouraged this attention. Also, the not wanting to tell her you’re engaged in the first place is strange. Men in love shout it from the rooftop.

    So, to summarize this, he lied about the nature of their relationship, clearly kept her around for a number of possible reasons, all shady or lame, painted her as some kind of weird obsessed girl, wanted to hide your engagement from her, and his conclusion is that you somehow unfairly don’t trust him? LOL WUT? Tread lightly here for sure.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      and who needs closure over someone they had sex with 4 years ago? No one. that’s who.

      1. karenwalker says:

        this is weird, but there was recently a piece on the frisky that was written by a guy about a similar situation. about 5 years ago he had gotten out of a serious relationship and hooked up with a woman who was friends with friends of his. she had a crush and, because of their mutual acquaintances, they kept in touch over the years, with the occasional hook up thrown in. the guy was never interested in dating her, but she still carried a torch for him over the 5 years. she waited all night for him at a party, but he was with another girl, who he was dating. at one point the two women talked, at the original girl’s request, and it gave her closure. so sometimes, closure is needed 4-5 years down the road for a very casual relationship. kinda sad.

  9. I don’t think the fact that they were FWB four years ago really explains why she kept contacting him and hoping things would change. I know some people are obsessive, but after a few years of not being physical with him, wouldn’t she get it? Is he that much of a catch?

    Also, I find it suspicious that he’s already setting it up so that it’s not a surprise if they stay in contact. It’s not really a good predictor of her future behavior that she’s been contacting him over the years, since she clearly didn’t know he was engaged. It could be that now that she knows he’s not single, she’ll move on.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      “Also, I find it suspicious that he’s already setting it up so that it’s not a surprise if they stay in contact. ”

      Yup, this is what stood out to me too. It’s basically saying “Don’t be surprised if you see us still talking, because she can’t seem to get over me.” aka “I need an excuse for why you’re still going to see her name pop up on my phone so you don’t know I’m sleeping with her.”

  10. llclarityll says:

    Thank goodness for the couples counseling. Please make him stick to it. Go more than once. Don’t stop going just because you feel that you’re both making progress. As others said, there are WAY too many red flags and non-truths in your follow-up.

    “All along I said he was disrespecting me and our relationship yet his opinion is that I do not trust him.” <– THIS bothers me. Instead of asking why you feel this way, changing his actions and making it a point to make you feel secure and respected in your relationship, he accuses you of not trusting him. Not exactly the response that would put me at ease and set my heart a flutter.

    1. “All along I said he was disrespecting me and our relationship yet his opinion is that I do not trust him.” <– THIS bothers me.

      Yeah his response to this should have started out with sorry for making you feel this way, then went on to him finding out why it did, and what he can do to not make it happen again.

      1. Yeah, and no shit she doesn’t trust him! Hiding him from a former “friend” (and lying to her about the nature of the “friendship”!) are NOT trustworthy behaviors!

  11. As someone who just got out of a very long relationship that I believed would turn into marriage, I have to echo everyone else: you should pay attention to the red flags. It absolutely sucked breaking up with my boyfriend, and it has sucked on varying levels for the past month and a half. But the red flags in our relationship (all relating to commitment phobic issues) were waving and I ignored them for a long, long time. A minor example- he told me to go look at rings so he would know what to get then picked a huge fight with me over nothing an hour before my appointment a few weeks later. Honestly, I’m sad pretty often, but it was also a huge relief even if it is a bit confusing to still be in love with someone and not want to be their partner anymore. I just chalk it up to my heart being an asshole.

    Counseling is an excellent idea, but please, please listen to your gut. And I would suggest you pay very close attention to what he says and does in and out of your sessions.

    1. Oh dear lord. My ex did the same thing.

      I remember watching “Bridesmaids” with him, and he made this big deal about how women get all emotional and freak out around weddings and it was all so stupid.

      Then after we got engaged, HE started freaking out, picking fights (like your ex), and having panic attacks over marrige.

      I always thought that was ironic. No wonder he was protesting so much after that movie.

  12. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    I stand by my original comments. Especially about the poutine…. did you ever get some theattack?

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      No! I’ve been drooling over the thought of it since that conversation though. I have no idea where to get these mysterious cheese curds, or I would try to make some!

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Come to Canada!

  13. I once dated a guy who had a really good friend that was always texting him, Facebooking him, etc. (She knew we were dating though). I was uncomfortable with the level of communication/things said/etc especially when it turned into her not liking me and starting drama. Then I found out that they had a past and thought “Oh well she just needs to move on, I’ve been there, it will just take some time”. Then a couple of years passed and it just got worse. Whenever I would get annoyed/upset about her, my boyfriend would say “Well she was in love with me, and I feel bad for using her because I had no interest in dating her and she’s a good person who deserved better.” He said I had nothing to worry about because he could have dated her if he wanted (which he didn’t because he said he wasn’t attracted to her because of her weight). Instead of seeing these as huge red flags, I just tried to ignore it. They started dating less than a month after he broke up with me and are still together now. So uh…yeah…

  14. i had a very similar situation – almost exactly, except no engagement. instead of his story that this was some old fling that couldn’t get over him, turns out he was sleeping with her/seeing her at the exact same time as our relationship. and this was a five-year relationship before i found out – so no insignificant thing. and, like the LW, i saw all the red flags and chose to ignore them, or accepted his rationalizations/justifications for the situation. LW, please consider the possibilities here – and if it doesn’t FEEL like it’s really that simple, it’s because it’s NOT. trust your instincts.

  15. Avatar photo The Validationer says:

    Dear Not a Secret,

    Of course you trust him. He told you about his clingy previous female friend with benefits instead of you finding them in bed together one day, after all. See? Trustworthy.

    The Validationer

    P.S. Good call on the couples counseling.

  16. I think he’s shady but there’s a big huge chunk missing here…. Guys HATE being The Asshole. It’s super mega major important to men to be seen as a Swell Guy. They would rather eat their own arm than admit “I’m just not that into you.” So while this dude seems a bit shady…. he could also be trying to be the Swell Guy. Either way, it’s not cool!

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